Jakarta – Human Rights activists Haris Azhar and Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti will be tried in a case of alleged defamation against Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan at the East Java District Court on Monday April 3.
"The first hearing will be on Monday, April 3, 2023", read an announcement on the Court Case Information Tracking System (SIPP) website on Wednesday March 29.
Azhar and Maulidiyanti's case dossiers are numbered 202/Pid.Sus/2023/PN Jkt.Tim and 203/Pid.Sus/2023/PN Jkt.Tim. The public prosecution will be conducted in the name of Yanuar Adi Nugroho.
Azhar and Maulidiyanti have been charged under Article 27 Paragraph 3 in conjunction with Article 45 Paragraph 3 of Law Number 19/2016 on Revisions to Law Number 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE Law) or Article 14 Paragraph 2 and alternative Article 15 of Law Number 1/1946 on Criminal Law Regulations or Article 310 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) in conjunction with Article 55 Paragraph 1 of the 1st KUHP.
The legal proceedings against the pair began with a report by Pandjaitan who felt that his good name had been tarnished by Azhar and Maulidiyanti in relation to a video discussion uploaded on Azhar's YouTube channel titled "There is Lord Luhut behind the Economic Relations-Military Operations in Intan Jaya!! There are also State Intelligence Agency Generals!!".
The police report was made in September 2021 and registered as Number LP/B/4702/IX/2021/SPKT/POLDA METRO JAYA.
The handling of the case has attracted protest from a number of civil society organisations and academics who have organised a campaign to assist Azhar and Maulidiyanti in the case.
"Criticism by citizens against public officials should be taken as a form of correction. The practice of criminalisation by public officials has consequences for democracy and freedom of expression", wrote the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) on its social media account.
"Because of this, we are calling on our civil society friends to assist Fatia and Haris as a form of solidarity and also to fight against curbing [free] expression", the group said. (ryn/fra)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Haris Azhar & Fatiah Diadili Terkait Kasus Luhut di PN Jaktim 3 April".]